Public has confidence in Coalition but lacks faith in EU leaders


It is generally perceived that the Government is capable of fighting our economic corner, while continued membership of the European Union is deemed desirable

THE PUBLIC is reasonably confident that the Government will improve our economic situation but they have little confidence in European Union leaders, according to the latest Irish Times/Ipsos MRBI poll.

Nonetheless, there is still a high level of confidence in the EU as an institution with a majority of almost three to one believing that it is better for the Republic to be part of the union.

Asked if they believed the Government would improve the economy, 41 per cent said it would, 38 per cent said it would have no impact, 14 per cent said it would worsen the situation and 7 per cent had no opinion.

People in the best-off AB social category had the most confidence in the Coalition to improve the situation while those in the poorest DE category had least faith in it.

In age terms, the over-65s had most confidence in the Government’s ability while the youngest, 18-to-24-year-olds, had least.

Men had a little more confidence than women.

In party terms, the strongest confidence in the Government was expressed by Fine Gael supporters with 68 per cent of them in that category. Labour voters were less confident, only narrowly ahead of Fianna Fáil voters.

Sinn Féin voters were easily the least confident in the Government’s abilities and were the only group where more people thought the Coalition would actually worsen the situation rather than improve it.

When it came to the question about whether people had confidence in the leaders of the EU to run the union, there was a lack of confidence right across the board.

Unsurprisingly, given the party’s attitude to Europe, Sinn Féin voters were the most dissatisfied with the way the EU leaders have been conducting affairs.

However, even among Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil voters, who are most well-disposed towards the EU, there was strong dissatisfaction with the way the leaders are running things. Labour voters were a little more dissatisfied than those of the other two bigger parties.

In social class terms, the AB voters, who are the strongest supporters of the EU, were nearly as dissatisfied with the leaders as DE voters who are normally the least enthusiastic about the union.

There were no great variations by age, gender or region, with a strong majority believing that the EU leaders were not running things properly.

However, when it came to the question of whether or not it was better to be part of the EU, there was a solid majority of the view that it was better to be part of the union.

Even Sinn Féin voters, by a small majority, thought it was better to be in the EU than outside it.

Supporters of all other parties took the same view but by much bigger margins.

Fine Gael voters were strongest in the belief that it was better to be part of the EU, with 77 per cent holding that view.

Fianna Fáil voters were next strongest in support, followed closely by Labour voters.

Interestingly, given the anti-EU attitudes of some of the Independent TDs, supporters of Independents and smaller parties were very strongly of the view that it was better to be part of the EU.

In class terms, AB voters were easily the most strongly in favour with 76 per cent saying it was better to be part of the union and 19 per cent saying it was not.

Only farmers with 81 per cent for and 17 per cent against were more strongly in favour.

The poorest DE category was the most sceptical about EU membership but there was still a two-to-one majority in favour among this group.

Men were a bit more strongly in favour than women but more women tended to be in the “don’t know” category rather than believing Ireland would be better off outside the EU.